Before I proceed, I'd like to make one thing clear: I am not saying that we don't need knowledge, ideas, and guidance from others. I am saying this: you have a built-in guidance system, and you also have an untapped reservoir of strength and creativity. In collaboration with teachers and ideas, structure and inspiration, precedents and principles, your inner power to express yourself as you see fit can come to life.
If you continuously choose to avoid suffering and flee from suffering, you will become great at avoiding and fleeing from future suffering. You will be preparing to brace for what comes next. If you appreciate, embrace, and learn to love suffering, you will be in top condition for leaning and breathing into future suffering. When you accept, embrace, engage with, and get excited by suffering, you will live with open arms for whatever comes your way, because, to borrow a phrase I repeat all too often in training sessions: “You’ve got this.”
In my own training sessions and in teaching others how to get fit as they can be, I encourage us to connect and disconnect the various aspects of ourselves when appropriate, and to feel our movement. Rather than concentrating on mind and body separately, connect your mind and body simultaneously. Rather than simply going through the motions, feel and appreciate the motions. Sure, this includes the inner scream coming from your muscles as they beg to shuttle out lactic acid, but even more, seeing with artist’s eyes and a beginner’s mind the beauty of the movement which you are manifesting. Rather than acknowledging the power of just your mind and body, you employ your emotional, spiritual, and soulful self.
Once we have this realization, we can set clear intentions for our conversations: whether that be to learn about another, the world, or ourselves. These intentions allow us to check in, and see more objectively if our actions are incentivized by ego, or rooted in sincere learning. In the process of setting intentions, we develop a capacity to align our intentions to our words and actions. And importantly, we hone a capacity to be truly interested in the people we exchange with.
I believe that the actions we take on a daily basis are subtly leading us to what our lives will become in three, five, or ten years from now. That’s why it’s so important to find things that ignite a fire within you. Whether it’s classes you’re taking, random jobs you have during college, places you travel, books you read, summer internships, volunteering, hobbies you spend time on. The experiences we accumulate today mold who we become tomorrow. And whether you’re fourteen, twenty seven, or sixty two, I believe there is always a choice within our life circumstances to find experiences that ignite a fire within us.